Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Wednesday, October 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 46° Partly Cloudy
News

NASA’s storm-silenced rover marks 15th anniversary on Mars

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 24, 2019

This illustration made available by NASA shows the rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars. The exploratory vehicle landed on Jan. 24, 2004, and logged more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) before falling silent during a global dust storm June 2018. There was so much dust in the Martian atmosphere that sunlight could not reach Opportunity’s solar panels for power generation. (AP)
This illustration made available by NASA shows the rover Opportunity on the surface of Mars. The exploratory vehicle landed on Jan. 24, 2004, and logged more than 28 miles (45 kilometers) before falling silent during a global dust storm June 2018. There was so much dust in the Martian atmosphere that sunlight could not reach Opportunity’s solar panels for power generation. (AP)
By Marcia Dunn Associated Press

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA’s Opportunity rover is silently marking the 15th anniversary of its touchdown on Mars.

The spacecraft hasn’t been heard from since a global dust storm last June. The six wheeler – about the size of a golf cart – logged more than 28 miles on the red planet before falling silent. There was so much dust in the Martian atmosphere that sunlight could not reach Opportunity’s solar panels to generate power.

Flight controllers are still sending commands to the rover in hopes of a response. But project manager John Callas says the longer the blackout lasts, the less likely contact will be made. He calls Thursday’s anniversary bittersweet.

Opportunity landed on Mars on Jan. 24, 2004. It already had long outlived its design lifetime before contact was lost.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.


New health insurance plans available November 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder

 (Photo courtesy WAHBE)
Sponsored

Fall means the onset of the cold and flu season.